Island Ecology

Yeronisos Island Expedition

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From the very beginning, the Yeronisos Island Expedition has pioneered eco-archaeology, integrating ecological and archaeological fieldwork toward the common goal of preserving natural and cultural resources.   We have undertaken surveys of flora and fauna, annual bird counts, identification of plant samples, preparation of an ecological map, and as well as studies of local arachnids, land snails, and skinks.  It is our hope to make a long-term contribution to both the cultural and the environmental heritage of Cyprus.

Traditionally, the search for information from beneath the modern surface has often disregarded the contemporary eco-system; the Yeronisos Island Expedition seeks to preserve and protect the site' s ecological integrity during the course of excavation.

Island ecologist Peter P. Blanchard III, of the Nature Conservancy, Mt. Desert, Maine and the Trust for Public Lands, New York City, has therefore undertaken surveys such as those he has conducted on off-shore islands in the northeastern United States. During two seasons of ecological survey (1990, 1992) Mr. Blanchard observed foliage and nesting patterns, undertook bird counts, collected, recorded and photographed plant samples and prepared an ecological map of the site. Plant specimens were taken to the herbaria at the Center for Agricultural Research, Nicosia, as well as to the Kew Gardens, London, for identification.

Mr. Blanchard has developed a strategy for curtailing disturbance of the wildlife and promoting an atmosphere of "co-habitation" for the archaeological team and the resident bird population. This includes the scheduling of excavation between nesting seasons, the wearing of clothing in earth tones and the camouflaging of the temporary shelter, equipment sheds, and ascent. He will also prepare a plan for the replanting of the site, if necessary, at the end of excavation. ECOLOGY REPORT

Ecologist Simon Demetropoulos has worked with the Yeronisos team over the past ten years, educating students in the flora and fauna of Cyprus, leading them on treks down the Avakas Gorge and across the rich landscape of the Akamas Peninsula, and taking them out night-time patrols along the beaches at Lara and Tofextra during the period when the loggerhead and green turtles are laying their eggs. 

Preserving Agios Georgios-tis-Peyias: the Threat of Over-Development

Over the past twenty years, the Yeronisos Island Expedition has undertaken a regular program of aerial photography along the coast of Cape Drepanon, thanks to the generous cooperation of the Cyprus Police Department       .  This has provided a critical record of the impact of development on what is one of the last unspoiled stretches of coastline on western Cyprus.  The views out to Yeronisos and up to the Akamas Peninsula provide the rare opportunity to look upon an ancient landscape, unchanged since the first men and women came to Cyprus over 10,000 years ago.  It is our sincere hope that the current building of villas and hotels and restaurants will not spoil this place of invaluable natural beauty and cultural significance.  AERIAL PHOTOS OF CAPE DREPANON/AGIOS GEORGIOS-TIS-PEYIAS